What to see in Italy?

Dec 5th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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What to see in Italy?

Hello All...well my wife and I are more comfortable with "Do it yourself" trip to Italy as opposed to a coach tour. With our teenage boys it sounds like it is do-able. Thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions.

Now the hard part..if we are the for 12-14 days and want to do some of the touristie things how many nights in each city. What should we not miss? My wife desperately wants to visit Pompei. We are thinking Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and Pompei. Is this do-able in 12-14 days? I look forward to everybody's suggestions. we have both Fodor's and Frommer's travel books and will scour them for thing to see and places to stay. Any suggestions on a travel company to help with our trip..or should we do that on our own as well. Thanks Jboz
Jboz1 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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You can certainly lay out your trip on your own. First, get a table sized map of the whole country, so you can rough out your travel path. This kind of map is NOT detailed enough for driving, but a great way to get a feel for where you want to go.
A few things to nail down early in your planning:
Can you get an 'open jaw' flight? This way you can fly into Rome and out of Venice (or whatever). This will have a big impact on your travel route.
Will you be renting a car, or just using public transportation. As wonderful as the cities of Italy are, the real charm of Italy (IMHO) is the countryside. To really enjoy the countryside, you probably need a car. On the other hand, you don't want a car while in the cities.
Once you make these decisions, your planning will fall into place much easier. Hitting 4 cities in 14 days is doable, but you'll be spending a fair amount of time in transit. I would try and cut out one city, perhaps Milan.
zootsi is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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<<Any suggestions on a travel company to help with our trip..or should we do that on our own as well(?)>>

You can get any help you need on this board - there are a LOT of folks here who would rather share their knowledge about Italy than do their "real" job.

You'll need 14 days for your trip. Even with 14 days (13 nights?), you might consider doing just the "big 3". Many first timers to Italy make Venice/Florence/Rome (w/ day trip to Pompeii) a two-week trip.

If you go that route, then I would split your thirteen nights:

3-5 nights in Venice
1-3 nights in Florence
7-8 nights in Rome
bardo1 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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If you really want to see Pompei then you need to be based in Sorrento. A day trip from Venice Florence or Rome will be a complete waste of time. You need at LEAST a full day to get a feel for Pompei.Unless you are likely to visit Italy again soon I would NOT miss Pompei!!
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 05:20 AM
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Plan 3 trips in advance since you will return and plan geographically. I like Venice, Lake Como, and Florence for a first trip.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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Hi jb,

>My wife desperately wants to visit Pompei. <

In that case, make Pompei the center of your visit.

You also have to visit the cousins in Rome.

I suggest:

Fly into Rome - 7 nights - visit Orvieto as a daytrip

Train to Sorrento via Naples or Positano via Salerno - 3 nights on the Amalfi Coast

Train to Naples - 3 nights - See Pompeii and the Archaeological Museum.

Fly home from Naples.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 06:15 AM
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Find my trip report.

Rome, Florence, Venice are great. We did 6 nights, 3 and 3. Have the boys read "Angels and Deamons?." If not, that is a good way to get them engaged in Rome.

With Rome, I think what you have to figure out is how many of the churches are "must sees." If you only want to see St. Peter's (and the Pentheon), your time in Rome can be much shorter than if your must see list has 27 churches on it (like mine did).

My 15 year old son loved Florence. It sparked such an interest in Dante that he came home and read the Divine Comedy.
missypie is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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I think it is fine to take a day trip from Rome to Pompeii; I have done it twice. If you leave early in the morning you can have plenty of time to explore Pompeii. The trip can be made on your own by train to Naples and the commuter train Circumvesuviana from Naples to Pompeii Scavi. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle bus operated by www.enjoyrome.com between April and October.

However you divide your time, I would try to make the Rome stay the longest. There is more to see in Rome than any place else I have ever been.
Nikki is online now  
Dec 5th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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I agree with Ira - if Pompeii is a must see, then you must make one of your stops nearby. Before I visited Italy, the one thing I wanted to see there was Pompeii, and I was not disappointed. If it is the history of Pompeii that interests Mrs Jboz, then there are a host of other things in that area that might interest her as much. I don't think 5 days would be too much in the area alone.

Pompeii without seeing the archaeological museum in Naples is only half the story. Herculaneum is a smaller, more intimate version of Pompeii - In many ways I prefer it to the larger site.

Along the coast, past Salerno is the Greek temple complex at Paestum - well worth a day trip if this sort of thing interests you.

The Amalfi coast is rightly famous for its scenery, and Sorrento would make a good base.

After that, then you probably would want to look at two of Rome, Venice and Tuscany. All are superb in their own. Personally, I would choose Tuscany and Venice - but only because I feel Rome should be given much more time than you have.

If you take a little time over Italy, and don't try to do the whole country in two weeks, you may find, as many others have, that it gets to you. You find yourself yearning to return, and start planning your next trip almost as son as you arrive home.
willit is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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Fly into Rome
5 days Rome
1 day Sorrento/Pompei
2 days Florence
1 days Milan
5 days Venice
Fly home from Venice
suze is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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How about flying into Milan and out of Rome?

Milan (1 night)
Florence with daytrip to countryside(3 nights)
Venice (3 nights)
Rome with daytrip to Pompeii (5-6 nights)

Alternatively, you could fly into Venice and out of Rome. Or into Rome and out of Venice or Milan. But an open jaws flight will save your valuable time -- and not cost much more if any.

Certainly a daytrip to Pompeii is not ideal, but probably works best, given your time limits. Have you read about Ostia Antica? Ruins of the old Roman port, easily accessible from Rome.

And train is best for your itinerary.
Mimar is online now  
Dec 5th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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I would up the time in Naples/Pompei/Sorrento and drop Milan

Look the Duomo is great but once you've seen one bishop's corpse in a glass cabinet you've seen the lot. The traditional shopping mall is ok. All the brand shops you already have in USA (ok these are head office but who cares) the museums are good but they are better in Rome and Florence.

So drop Milan and try to fit Capri or a bit of the amalfi coast into Pompeii. After all it is why you are going there.

Parking a car in Italian city. Take care, needs secure parking, the guys drive like Belgiums (why not attack two nations at a time) and some streets are a little narrow.

bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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I took a two week trip very similar to yours some years ago. This worked for us.

I would suggest either flying to Naples, or flying to Rome and immediately taking the train to Naples. Spend three nights and visit Pompeii, the Archaeology Museum maybe Herculaneum.

Train to Rome. Five nights.

Train to Florence. Three nights.

Train to Venice -- Three nights. Fly home.

If you haven't anything of particular interest to see or do in Milan, I'd skip it.

Dec 5th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Skip Milan. It's one of those cities that you either have to devote some time to see the sites (Duomo, Last Supper, La Scala, Brera, etc.) or skip it altogether. There's not much point being there for only a day.

Assuming 2 of your 14 days is spent flying, fly into Rome and spend 5 nights (one day as a day trip to Pompeii), 4 nights in Florence including a day trip into Tuscany, and 3 nights in Venice. Take the express train between cities - it's the fastest and cheapest way to maximize your time. Fly out of Venice. In most cases, open jaw flights are not any more expensive or only a little more so than flying in and out of the same city.

Another alternative - skip Pompeii on this trip and plan a second trip which includes Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and Naples. Although Pompeii can be done as a day trip from Rome, it's better to include it on a trip through southern Italy. Do 3-4 nights in Rome (which could include a day trip to Ostia if you are hungering to see Roman ruins), 2-3 nights in Florence, take a car for 3 nights in Tuscan countryside (very easy to drive), and 3 nights in Venice.
drbb is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Some suggestions for your day trips in Tuscany:

Siena (video)

San Gimignano (video)

Both are easy to reach from flornce (about 1,5 hour away by train/bus or car)
stefm is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 11:39 AM
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Well, Jboz1, are you overwhelmed with all the suggestions? As you can now tell, everyone has a different opinion on the "best" places to go and the "best" way to do it.

I would print this thread out and then discuss it with the family, then plan what you really want to do and then the Fodorites will help you.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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With 12-14 days of travel, I highly suggest no more than 3 destinations (maybe 4 if you have the extra two days). Otherwise you will spend more time trying to get from place to place than soaking up the local atmosphere. I would say take Milan out of the equation (IMO this would be the place the boys get the most bored). You could do Pompeii from Rome but it is a long day and would need to be done with a driver and guide. Venice, Florence and Rome are a great combo...
BellaVitaItalia is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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I actually think the boys might be more bored in Florence (unless they're Renaissance buffs). Ordinarily I would be in the "Big Three" crowd: Rome Florence Venice.
But, considering the boys' ages, I suggest...

Fly into Venice: 3 nights
Fly AlpiEagles
To Naples: 4 nights Pompei/Amalfi
Train to Rome: 5 nights

I couldn't find an english page on AlpiEagles. But it appears they currently offer VCE to Naples for 13.50 euros inclusive, 7:50-8:55am. I don't know when you're traveling...just an example.
JeanneB is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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I just spent 18 days in Italy. My only advice-if you fly out of Venice, do not book an early morning flight as reaching the airport for a 7:30 a.m. flight can be a problem.
dhwhitt is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 05:29 PM
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dhwhitt - I just read your comment about an early morning flight being difficult in Venice. What difficulties did you encounter. We have a 6:50 am flight out of Venice that I am dreading - please tell me what I am in for....?
DebD is offline  

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